When I was little, I loved Xena: Warrior Princess. I wanted to be her. I used a frisbee as a chakram. I may have caused some damage throwing it at imaginary enemies. I also wanted to be Gabrielle, but it was harder to find something to use as a pretend staff.
Do I need a reason to watch some Xena before returning to Merlin? No. But if so, that was it.
Sins of the Past
I know Xena started as an antagonist-turned-love-interest on Hercules, kind of like Catwoman, but I don’t care. I don’t need to know the details of that to follow that she used to be a warmonger who killed and pillaged, and now she feels bad and is struggling to head down a different path in life while everyone she knows mistrusts her. I also dig Gabrielle in her humble beginnings as a surprisingly street-wise nuisance and fangirl. Warlord Draco works as a villain. He’s charming and sort of nuanced.
Xena sulks and repents. Gabrielle is spunky. Draco has a smart plan. The theme music still slaps. Some of the action is goofy, of course, but some of it is pretty great. At one point, Xena has to get up into some scaffolding. Instead of using a ladder, she hits a guy in the stomach so he doubles over then hops onto his back so that she can launch herself up the rest of the way. It made my evening.
As a pilot, it works and I like it.
Chariots of War
Xena gets injured and ruins some guy’s dead wife’s dress so that she can fight in it. Gabrielle hangs out in a bar. Some soft warlord’s son is preciously bad at being a warlord. When Xena kills the jerk warlord dad, he says his dying words to his son: “If you had done this, I would have died proud.” Which. Jesus.
In this episode, a group of weirdos tries to make Gabrielle a sacrifice. She is a “blood innocent” – she hasn’t ever killed anyone before.
So obviously the whole “violence is bad, killing is bad, etc” thing permeates the whole episode and it’s great, but also, it’s pretty refreshing that Gabriel’s special sacrifice status is that she’s never killed anyone, not that she’s a virgin. Fiiiiiiinally.
Cradle of Hope
Myth mixing in this episode: Moses stuff, and Pandora’s box stuff. Xena dances in a veil. They fix everything using the obvious solution, infuriating the baby-murder enthusiast.
Welp, so far it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of and more.